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Apple’s recently launched Netflix competitor may be getting a watch party feature to watch films and shows with others whilst apart.
A new patent leak from Apple suggests that they could be bringing a new group watching feature to their video streaming service. The feature has become a favourite this year as people have been separated more than ever and sought ways to connect from afar.
It’s described as “simultaneous playback for multiple audience members with different visual and audio needs or preferences”. This description is interesting because it suggests a feature that may not just be used to allow people to watch together from afar, but assist with particular needs when watching as a group.
For example, it could be used to play content in different languages for different people watching along or provide aural assistance for the hard of hearing. It wouldn’t necessarily be used to watch films with friends whilst you’re all at home, but could allow people in the same room to connect their headphones to watch the same screen but with the audio that suits them best.
It may even be used to provide parental guidance and control on inappropriate content, with warnings or even straight up removals of inappropriate content. The patent reads: “This process may be repeated as needed during the playback of the asset, to replace additional, selected upcoming segments of the asset.”
It continues: “In this way, an audience member may watch an original version of the asset, while another audience member seamlessly sees and/or hears a different version of the asset that is more suitable for the needs of that audience member.”
Apple are often posting patents that don’t necessarily amount to a product, but simply cover their potential use of it for posterity. This sounds like a highly valuable feature that would both enhance the audience’s experience and offer a unique feature to their service to set it apart further from competitors like Netflix and Disney+.